Amid the recent political shift within Chinese politics, the effort at modernizing and advancing its military has remained unchanged.Minnie Chan of the South China Morning Post reports that to demonstrate this unwavering effort, China today confirmed the first successful carrier landings of its J-15 fighter aboard its first aircraft carrier the Liaoning.
The landings are the culmination of a years long effort at refitting the Soviet-era carrier, originally christened the Varyag, and are perhaps the most difficult technical carrier maneuvers to accomplish.
Testing on land-based, carrier shaped decks, has been going on for months, so this recent achievement is causing a bit of celebration. While not the culmination of China’s entry into a functioning carrier military power, the successful landings put it on track to enter that club with gusto when it adds additional carriers to the group.
The Liaoning will no doubt serve as China’s training carrier, where it cuts its teeth on the technical and tactical challenges facing flattop operations. Rumors have persisted for some time that Beijing was building two indigenous carriers as well, but proof of that has yet to be seen.
Finally, these developments come as the U.S. announces the USS Nimitz is so dysfunctional it cannot be deployed and is pulling the USS Eisenhower from the Persian Gulf for a quick ref-fit before sending it back to cover for the Nimitz.
The Nimitz is about 40 years old and discovered a major problem with its propulsion system during per-deployment maneuvers. No word on how long it may be out of rotation, but the Eisenhower will be picking up the slack, at least in the near future.
Full article: China’s Aircraft Carrier Hit A Huge Milestone (Business Insider)